China tensions top ASEAN summit talks in Myanmar

Discussion in 'China' started by Ray, May 12, 2014.

  1. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

    Apr 17, 2009
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    China tensions top ASEAN summit talks in Myanmar

    NAYPYIDAW, Myanmar -- Vietnam and the Philippines pushed for stronger action to confront China's aggressive behavior in the South China Sea at a Southeast Asian summit Sunday that was hosted for the first time by Myanmar, a former pariah state now eager to show off its fragile democratic reforms.

    A showdown between Chinese and Vietnamese ships near the Paracel Islands has put a spotlight on long-standing and bitter maritime disputes. The stakes are high, with Beijing claiming sovereignty over much of the strategically important waters — among the world's busiest transport lanes and believed to contain significant oil and gas reserves.

    Several members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations reject China's claims, saying parts of the sea are theirs. But few are willing to risk their economic and political ties with the regional powerhouse.

    A statement released by Southeast Asian leaders at the close of Sunday's meeting expressed concern and called for restraint by all parties involved in the maritime disputes, but made no direct mention of China.

    Vietnam and the Philippines made it clear from the start that they wanted more.

    “China has brazenly moved its deep-water drilling rig escorted by over 80 armed and military vessels and many airplanes to the Vietnamese waters,” Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dzung was quoted as saying. The vessels “fired high-powered water cannons and rammed straight into the Vietnamese public-service and civil ships, causing damage to many ships and injuring many people on board.”

    The standoff between China and Vietnam started May 1, when China moved a deep sea oil rig into waters close to the Paracel Islands in what most analysts believe was an especially assertive move to help cement its claims of sovereignty over the area. Vietnam, which says the islands belong to it, immediately dispatched ships.

    China insists it is doing nothing wrong and said Thursday that it had “maintained a lot of restraint” in the face of “intensive provocations” by Vietnam that were endangering its personnel and property.

    Vietnam says the security and free navigation of the strategic waterway are now under serious threat

    Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying responded by saying that the issue should not concern ASEAN and that Beijing was opposed to “one or two countries' attempts to use the South Sea issue to harm the overall friendship and cooperation between China and ASEAN,” according to China's state-run Xinhua News Agency.
    Philippine President Benigno Aquino III, meanwhile, said he intended to raise his country's own territorial dispute with Beijing at the summit, while calling for support to resolve the conflict through international arbitration.

    ASEAN leaders also discussed tensions on the Korean Peninsula, reiterating their commitment to a region “free of nuclear weapons and all other weapons of mass destruction,” according to a draft of the final statement.

    They also discussed the need to effectively tackle threats such as cybercrime, human trafficking and climate change, as well as food and energy security, human rights issues and efforts to create an ASEAN economic community.

    It was the first time Myanmar hosted a summit of Southeast Asian leaders since it joined the 10-member bloc in 1997.

    The country was previously passed over because of its poor human rights record. Though much work needs to be done, Myanmar has implemented sweeping political and economic reforms since ruling generals handed over power to a quasi-civilian government in 2011 following a half-century of military rule.

    ASEAN comprises Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

    ASEAN urges 'peaceful resolution' to Thai crisis

    Southeast Asia's regional bloc called Sunday for a “peaceful resolution” to the political crisis gripping Thailand, days after a controversial court ruling removed prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra from power.

    In a statement by ASEAN foreign ministers, the bloc said it was closely monitoring the situation in Thailand, where both pro- and anti-government protesters have been drawn onto the streets, raising fears of unrest.

    ASEAN member states “emphasise their full support for a peaceful resolution to the ongoing challenge in the country through dialogue and in full respect of democratic principles and rule of law,” it said.

    The ministers stressed the importance of “promoting national reconciliation and the return of normalcy in Thailand, in accordance with the will and interests of the people.”

    China tensions top ASEAN summit talks in Myanmar - The China Post


    China seems to be getting on everyone's nerves.

    SO long as China embarks on military actions to enforce her views, there can be no peaceful resolution.
    Srinivas_K likes this.
  3. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

    Apr 17, 2009
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    Spat with Vietnam part of China's strategy: experts

    BEIJING -- China sending an oil rig to waters disputed with Vietnam is a move to assert its legal claim and practical hold over contested territory whatever the short-term political and diplomatic costs, analysts say — but could play into Washington's hands.
    Beijing's controversial move to dispatch the deep-water rig along with a reported 70 vessels triggered clashes in the South China Sea, just after a visit to the region by U.S. President Barack Obama and ahead of this weekend's Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit.

    It also comes amid heightened tensions between Beijing and Manila, which has asked a United Nations tribunal to rule on China's claims over most of the sea. Beijing — which prefers to negotiate directly with its smaller, weaker neighbors — has vehemently rejected arbitration.

    Experts say that while Beijing has cast the drilling operation by state-owned CNOOC as part of its long-term oil exploration program, energy resources are probably a secondary consideration.

    Rather, they note, the move appears to be a fresh effort by China to demonstrate a so-called “incident of sovereignty,” part of a broader strategy geared towards showing Beijing has control of disputed territory.

    “I think that the Chinese government is trying to be assertive with regard to its claims about this or that little island in the South China or East China Seas in order to keep those claims alive,” said Barry Sautman, a specialist on Chinese politics at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST).

    “Under international law ... all states that have territorial disputes must periodically do something to show that they have an active interest in the territory in question,” he said.

    “Whether this is politically beneficial to China is, of course, another matter,” he added.

    Beijing has defended its actions as “completely reasonable, legal and justified,” arguing that the intended drilling location is close to the Paracel Islands.

    China has controlled the archipelago since ousting South Vietnamese forces in 1974 but Hanoi still claims them.

    Vietnam says Chinese boats have used water cannon and repeatedly collided with Hanoi's patrol ships since May 3, injuring six people, while Beijing counters that “disruptive” Vietnamese vessels have rammed its ships 171 times,

    The clash is only one of several maritime spats between China and its Asian neighbors, the most volatile of them with Japan over a small East China Sea island grouping called Diaoyu by Beijing and Senkaku by Tokyo.

    In that dispute, a key Japanese argument is that until the 1970s, “there was a substantial period in which China didn't show any interest” in the islands, Sautman said, and Beijing will want to avoid allowing that argument elsewhere.

    “I think China is caught in between the requirements of politics and the requirements of law,” Sautman said.

    The timing of Beijing's move “has spurred speculation that this was a tit-for-tat response” to Obama's trip to U.S. allies Japan, South Korea, Malaysia and the Philippines last month, when China's territorial claims were a constant theme, noted Carl Thayer, a Vietnam expert and emeritus professor at the Australian Defense Force Academy.

    But the unilateral step — similar to Beijing's November declaration of an “air defense identification zone” over much of the East China Sea — risks bolstering Washington's argument that China is taking “provocative” steps in the region.

    “If I were an American, I'd say, 'Thank you,' because it just makes everybody feel that China's being aggressive,” said David Zweig, director of HKUST's Center on China's Transnational Relations.

    “It's clear, there's tension in all of this area and it wasn't happening before China was stronger,” he added.

    'Unexpected, provocative and even illegal'

    Nonetheless, Beijing's latest action comes as a surprise because it represents “a marked reversal in the trajectory of bilateral relations” between Communist neighbors China and Vietnam, said Thayer.

    The two fought a brief border war in 1979, but ties had been at a high point in recent months following Chinese Premier Li Keqiang's visit to Hanoi last October and a pledge by both countries to boost two-way trade to US$60 billion by 2015.

    China's drilling announcement came “out of the blue” and was “unexpected, provocative and even illegal,” said Thayer.

    The assertiveness of the move against Vietnam suggests that Beijing's current leadership under President Xi Jinping is “more inclined to adopt a heavy-handed approach” than previous generations, said Li Mingjiang, an expert on East Asian security and an associate professor at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore.

    But Hanoi's strong reaction could suggest that regional attitudes towards China are hardening, he added — something that Beijing appears not to have anticipated.

    “(China) probably didn't calculate that Vietnam would actually send all these ships to try to make China remove the rig,” Li said.

    Hanoi had to avoid sending a signal of tacit acquiescence to Beijing, he added.

    “Basically, I think Vietnam just cannot afford the consequences of not reacting strongly.”

    Spat with Vietnam part of China's strategy: experts - The China Post
  4. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

    Apr 17, 2009
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    Beijing criticizes US for its 'irresponsible' Vietnam spat critique

    BEIJING -- Beijing on Friday defended itself against U.S. criticism over an escalating maritime dispute with Vietnam, criticizing Washington for making “irresponsible” statements on the issue.
    “The U.S. has ignored facts and made a series of wrong remarks,” Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told reporters at a regular briefing.

    “We urge the U.S. to bear in mind the big picture, act and speak cautiously on the relevant issue, stop making irresponsible remarks and do more things which are conducive to maintaining peace and stability in the region,” she added.

    The retort from Beijing echoed similar remarks made by Chinese officials on Thursday at a hastily-arranged press conference to defend China's actions in its latest flare-up with Vietnam over contested waters.

    Tensions between the Communist neighbours have risen sharply since Beijing unilaterally announced last week it would relocate a deep-water drilling rig to a disputed patch of the South China Sea — a move the United States has described as “provocative.”

    China and Vietnam, which fought a brief border war in 1979, have been locked in a longstanding territorial dispute over the waters, and frequently trade diplomatic barbs over oil exploration, fishing rights and sovereignty in the Spratly and Paracel Islands.

    The spat is the latest in a series of disputes between China and its Asian neighbours over territory in the South China Sea, which Beijing claims almost in its entirety.

    Hanoi said Wednesday that Chinese vessels had rammed its patrol ships and turned water cannon on them near the controversial rig. Beijing has countered that it is Hanoi that has “disrupted China's normal drilling activities.”

    U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Daniel Russel weighed in on the incident on Wednesday, telling reporters in Hanoi that Washington firmly believed sovereignty disputes had to be settled “diplomatically and ... in accordance with international law.”

    “The U.S. is greatly concerned about any dangerous conduct at sea and we oppose any act of intimidation by vessels including and particularly in disputed areas,” he said.

    Beijing criticizes US for its 'irresponsible' Vietnam spat critique - The China Post
  5. Srinivas_K

    Srinivas_K Senior Member Senior Member

    Jun 17, 2009
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    The West's game plan seems "Let the world know what Chinese are upto"
  6. amoy

    amoy Senior Member Senior Member

    Jan 17, 2010
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    SE Asia faces renewed unity test as South China Sea tensions spike | Reuters

    ASEAN must be neutral in South China Sea row: PM Lee - Channel NewsAsia


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